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Lawsuit Against City Over Sale of Brooklyn Heights Library Dismissed

 A rendering of the proposed building by Marvel Architects.
A rendering of the proposed building by Marvel Architects.
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Marvel Architects via CB2

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by a local advocacy group against the city and the Brooklyn Public Library claiming the city did not conduct a thorough study on how the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights branch would impact the neighborhood.

State Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jimenez-Salta reviewed the lawsuit, filed last month by Love Brooklyn Libraries, and dismissed the claims, saying they lacked merit.

The group had charged that the $52 million sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library to Hudson Companies violated the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), which requires the lead agency on the project, in this case the mayor’s office, to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS).

The SEQRA requires the agency to draft an EIS only if it determines a project could negatively impact the environment.

The court determined the city fully complied with the environmental review process, noting the review “was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or affected by error of law,” according to the judge’s decision.

“We are pleased that the court recognized that this suit had no merit,” city spokesman Austin Finan said in a statement.

“Now, a project that has undergone extensive public review, which will include a number of benefits to the community including more affordable housing, can proceed.”

Marsha Rimler, president of Love Brooklyn Libraries, said the group will appeal Judge Jimenez-Salta’s decision. 

“We're disappointed, but we move forward with confidence,” Rimler said.

Hudson Companies plans to build a 36-story luxury tower at the library site at 1 Clinton St., with a smaller library on the ground and cellar floors.

As part of the library sale, the developer committed to bringing STEM education labs to the high-rise, constructing a 5,000-square-foot library in the DUMBO/Vinegar Hill area, and building 114 affordable rental units in Clinton Hill — at 1043 Fulton St. and 907 Atlantic Ave.

The Brooklyn Heights branch will open an interim location at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, at 113 Remsen St., this month before construction begins.

Work on the new building, designed by Marvel Architects, will begin this fall and is expected to take about three-and-a-half years.